California First In The World To Set New Guideline For Drinking Water

By Rebekah Gonzalez

March 17, 2021

California will be the first in the world to set guidelines for microplastics in drinking water, reports CBS8.

However, there is currently no data on how present they are in the state, there is little research on their health risks, and scientists have yet to agree on how to test water for them.

Microplastics are fragments of various types of plastic less than 5mm in length that enter ecosystems from sources like clothing and cosmetics.

According to CBS8, a 2018 law requires California to require four years of testing for microplastics in drinking water and they must consider guidelines to help providers and consumers determine what is safe to drink.

The State Water Resources Control Board is aiming to issue a preliminary health-based threshold and established testing methods by July 1.

The state's goal is a precautionary one, hoping to eliminate the potential threats of microplastics in drinking water.

But such an early action presents many obstacles including unknown health effects and little research on how widespread microplastics are in California's drinking water.

Some researchers are impressed by California's early efforts.

“We now know that we live in a soup of plastic that is getting ever denser. And we don’t seem to be changing our ways. And the contaminants, they live longer than we do, meaning that the soup will get thicker,” said Rolf Halden, director of the Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering at Arizona State University. “So is it too early to do something? No, it is actually a bit late.” 

Photo: Getty Images

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